Significant Lexical Relationships

Ted Pedersen, Mehmet Kayaalp, Rebecca Bruce

Statistical NLP inevitably deals with a large number of rare events. As a consequence, NLP data often violates the assumptions implicit in traditional statistical procedures such as significance testing. We describe a significance test, an exact conditional test, that is appropriate for NLP data and can be performed using freely available software. We apply this test to the study of lexical relationships and demonstrate that the results obtained using this test are both theoretically more reliable and different from the results obtained using previously applied tests.

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